Oh goodness, I’ve done it again. I abandoned you for the past three months (was it really that long?). I’m so sorry.
As I mentioned in one of my June posts, our summer was destined to be busy. And it was. I loved so many aspects about it – taking my kids swimming and for their lessons multiple times a week, vacationing on the East Coast/visiting my in-laws, a trip to the beach in Michigan with my trio and best friend, playdates with friends and neighbors, family time, dates with my hubby…. I could go on. It was a wonderful summer indeed.
But with all the hustle and bustle, my commitment to exercise and wellness went by the wayside. Again. And now I find myself at the same crossroad I was at back in the spring; on a path that is much like a roller coaster and seemingly not slowing down anytime soon.
Once again, I reclaim my commitment to exercise and wellness. I have to. Because when I don’t make time for it and prioritize it as part of my routine, I really start to lose my marbles.
Which brings up another point: Parenthood. It’s really tough. It’s overwhelmingly joyous. It’s emotional. It’s stressful. It’s exciting. It’s – - a roller coaster.
We are conditioned (or maybe it’s just in my family?) for perfectionism; but there is nothing more imperfect that the journey of parenthood. And I’m starting to come to terms with the idea that I may well be – - imperfect (shhh, please don’t tell anyone else!). But maybe that’s okay.
While “Losing My Marbles” has been – until now – much about food, weight loss and wellness, I would like to use this platform to share some of my parenting triumphs and tribulations. To be more transparent. Especially for my friends who think I’m perfect.
For those of you who are still on your own wellness journey, I hope you’ll welcome me back. I can’t wait to hear/read how you’re doing with the juggling act that is life.
I’ll keep you posted as I get rolling again. Promise.
You guessed it: I’ve lost two more marbles! The scale revealed Sunday morning that I had lost 1.1 pounds and I followed the news with a day of great food choices: Greek yogurt and berries for breakfast; quinoa with tomatoes, Greek olives and feta for lunch; an apple and peanut butter snack; and Shwarma chicken salad for dinner. (Check out that recipe below – it’s divine and always a hit with our trio too.)
I’m feeling refreshed after a nice family-filled weekend of trips to the park, long walks (have I mentioned that our stroller weighs 130+ pounds with the kids in it?) and straightening house (namely the kids’ playroom). With all of the craziness that our new summer schedule is going to bring, it was nice to have a couple of calmer days with fewer commitments.
The kids had a birthday party for their good friend on Sunday, and I (proudly) denied an offer from the hosts who were passing around cake. Believe me, this was a huge moment for me as I absolutely love cake and icing. I helped myself instead to three pieces of watermelon on the rind. As I always say to my kids – “good choice!”
During my trip to the grocery store last week I stumbled upon a popsicle container and, on a whim, decided I would make myself that much more domesticated by homemaking healthier frozen treats for our kids. After a few days of nagging from the threesome – and waiting for the bananas to ripen appropriately – I made a six-pack of these super scrumptious treats. Highly recommended for a sweet, after-dinner delight.
1) Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency is attained.
2) Spoon equal amounts into each popsicle cup
3) Freeze overnight, and enjoy!
Shwarma is a spice comprised of Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin, Roasted Garlic, Cardamom, Allspice, White Pepper, and Sea Salt. While I’m sure the contents can vary slightly, I have my favorite and it’s this: the Pereg brand which can be purchased on Amazon here:
SHWARMA CHICKEN SALAD
lb. mixed greens
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
2-3 large tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
1 can Mediteranean or Israeli pickles
2 T Tahini
2-3 T olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 T garlic powder
1 T paprika
3 T shwarma spice
1) Make a paste of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika and Shwarma spice
2) Toss chicken in mixture to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to 24).
3) Remove chicken from container and cook in a pan with 1 T olive oil.
4) Meanwhile, chop vegetables to make Israeli salad: cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles, then add minced onion. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
5) To assemble, use a large plate or shallow dish and add a layer of mixed greens to the bottom. Scatter the chicken on top, then surround with Israeli salad.
6) Prepare the tahini in a small bowl by adding 1 T water and stir to thin. Drizzle on top of salad.
For all you vegetarians out there, this recipe would also be delicious with a meat or chicken substitute. Enjoy – and let me know how you like it!
I know, I know, I hear you. I know what you’re saying:
“Where have you been? Are your marbles so far gone that you don’t have time to blog about them?”
In the past few weeks, my family and I have been overly consumed with new and current jobs (both volunteer and professional), more mommy time as the kids’ school and various other activities have been on break, and the usual (think laundry, dishes, bathtime, yada yada).
I was on such a high following the 5k. I felt such an inspiring sense of accomplishment. And my body felt great. I hadn’t lost any significant number of pounds; but my body was starting to look more toned. And my hips… well even my husband noticed that they were lookin’ a bit more – - straight. ish.
But I took a fall (metaphorically speaking) after the race.
I was no longer working towards a specific exercise goal. I started experiencing more cravings (think tortilla chips, ice cream, and cereal). While I didn’t fully give-in to them, I surely wasn’t keeping to my tidy budget of 1359 calories per day.
And I guess I’ve just shied away from you so that I wouldn’t have to divulge it all. I haven’t forgotten about you; I realize how much I need you. Staying in touch through Losing My Marbles is a key to any success I’m hoping to achieve.
After having a chat with one of my sisters today, I feel renewed and re-energized. And I am committed to finding a new goal to keep me moving forward (besides just a number on the scale)!
Thanks for sticking by my side. As a small token of my appreciation, here’s a recipe for yummy lentil tacos I promise you’ll love!
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup salsa
10 taco shells
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 can black olives, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
fat free sour cream, as desired
1) In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute.
2) Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
3) Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.
4) Stir in salsa. Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese, olives and sour cream.
I’m so thrilled to announce that – after training for the pasts six weeks – I ran the 5K yesterday! Make Tracks for the Zoo (St. Louis) was a great experience. With more than 4000 people racing, I definitely felt a rush as we crossed the start line and worked to wiggle ourselves around the crowd and establish our pace.
Overall, I ran well and felt so good about the results. (We maintained a pace of just over 11 minute miles.) While I enjoyed the run and felt a huge sense of accomplishment, I was even more pleased with the fact that I set out with a goal, committed to training three times a week and followed-through. And, while I learned to enjoy running on some level, my greatest joy was training with my hubby, dedicating that time each week to be together and spending it doing something active and healthy.
Thanks to my hubby (whose foot injury healed in time for the race), best friend and her son for joining me on this journey and rooting me on literally every step of the way. I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line – and through that last 3/4 mile – without you!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts: “Aren’t all fruits and vegetables created equal?”…“Lentil Tacos”… and “My craving for salt and crunch – satisfied.”
The good news is that I “lost” 1.5 lbs as of this morning. The bad news is that I anticipate the same roller coaster next month.
I’m feeling better after those few days of being bloated, and I’m happy to be able to attribute my recent weight “gain” to that time of the month. But I’m not looking forward to going through those same symptoms next month.
I read this quote on a friend’s Facebook page today: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” (From good ‘ole Dolly Parton!)
Okay, okay – so I guess I just need to remain focused on how I lead each day and the goals I have set out to achieve with time. I suppose the roller coaster is just part of the journey.
In general, I have been staying away from desserts – except on the weekends. (And really, I should be limiting myself to once a weekend – at that.) I stumbled upon this really interesting recipe today, and had to try it. Gluten free (so it’s in-line with my attempt to reduce flour intake), chocolate and contains a vegetable. Can’t be that bad for me, right?
Straight out of the oven, here it is:
FLOURLESS ZUCCHINI BROWNIES
Serves 6-8 (sourced from the Delighted Momma blog and modified)
1 cup of peanut butter
1 1/2 cup of grated zucchini. (I used a grater to thin slice and then chopped it up into really small pieces.)
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 cup of dark chocolate chips
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and use a handheld mixer to blend together.
3) Pour into a greased 9×9 pan.
4) Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Tips & Final Thoughts:
*The original recipe calls for almond butter, but I have a child with a tree nut allergy so I substituted peanut butter, which was a yummy change.
*I enjoyed these “brownies” a lot (which are much more cake-like) but hubby could barely keep one bite down.
*This is a highly caloric dessert and not especially healthy – so the gluten-free aspect only takes me so far.
I guess fruit is still better for me afterall.
As my husband says “nobody wants to read about perfection.”
Well folks, if that’s the case, you have landed in the right place.
Today, I took a step back at my weigh-in with a 1.5 pound increase. And I had a day filled with PMS-ing and the munchies. (I hope you’re okay with me being so personal.)
I know what the (minimal) weight gain is attributed to (besides my period); but I just want to keep denying it: the three desserts I had over the weekend; my choice to snack on crackers instead of fruit or veggies; the fact that I don’t watch my calorie intake over the weekend and tend to overeat; that bun I ate with my turkey burger at Sunday night’s BBQ….
It’s hard to see numbers on the scale I thought I was over with. But it wasn’t just the scale that was sending me signals today.
For the first time in weeks, I am really bloated. Having reduced my carb intake of pasta, bread, and crackers over a month ago, I guess my body is really getting used to not ingesting them. And, well, today’s munchies led me to seek some out of the frig.
Bloating uncomfortable. Lesson learned.
I’ve been dedicated to my exercise routine (which I can’t wait to mix up once the 5k has come and gone) and I have eaten very well over the past month (minus those few discrepancies).
Oh, my dear scale, won’t you forgive me? Can we be friends again? Pretty please.
At Thursday’s weigh-in, the scale told me that I had lost another half pound! For those of you keeping track, I’ve lost 7 marbles thus far. (There were a few times during the week that I sensed I might be losing the other marbles as well – crazy kids, but oh-so-cute.)
I’m actually holding it together quite well given the incredibly loud dynamics I deal with each day with my little trio. As they are just over three years old, I’m employing some learned and deliberate breathing techniques to get me through each moment. And the consistent exercise is helping with stress release too.(A woman with twins told me today that she used to operate in 15-minute increments when her kids were young. Whatever works – to each their own.)
Another milestone I’m excited to share is that I earned a new badge on Loseit.com. I realize it may sound goofy, but they’re rooting for me; or, at least, they’re motivating me. Friday marked one month of exercising three times a week. I think the saying goes that a habit can be developed in six weeks; well I’m 2/3 of the way there!
We had friends over for lunch this weekend and I made a menu of recipes that I was really proud of and were all a hit with our guests. Everything was gluten free, really colorful and oh-so-flavorful. Let me know if you try any of them!
COLD CURRIED CARROT & COCONUT MILK SOUP
Serves 12 (sourced from Epicurious.com and modified)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped scallions
2 small onions, chopped
2 T finely minced or grated peeled fresh gingerroot
2 T unsalted butter or margarine
2 T Curry powder
3 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced thin
5 cups vegetable stock
2-3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
salt and pepper
chives, for garnish
1) In a large heavy pot, cook chopped scallions, onions, and gingerroot in butter with curry powder and salt and pepper to taste over moderately low heat until softened.
2) Add carrots and broth. Simmer mixture, covered, 20 minutes or until carrots are very soft.
3) Using an immersion blender (my favorite kitchen accessory!) in the pot, puree mixture with coconut milk until very smooth.
4) Chill soup at least 6 hours or overnight.
5) Garnish soup with chives, when serving.
5 T butter, divided
4 large shallots, halved, thinly sliced
1 t chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 lbs. fresh wild mushrooms, trimmed, thickly sliced
1/2 lb. button mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/3 cup Madeira wine
1 lb. Haricot verts
3 T vegetable broth, as needed
1) Melt 1/4 cup butter in large pot over high heat. Add shallots and thyme; saute until shallots begin to brown, about 4 minutes.
2) Add all mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until juices evaporate, about 10 minutes.
3) Add Madeira; toss until evaporated, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
NOTE: At this point, next time I’m going to serve this mushroom saute over polenta for a completely different dish. The mushrooms were incredibly flavorful and would lend themselves beautifully to a less complex food, like polenta.
But I digress. If you want greens…
4) Steam haricot verts.
5) Add them to the mushrooms in the pot. Toss until everything is heated through, adding broth by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6) Transfer to a serving dish.
3/4 cup brown basmati rice
1/3 cup wild rice
1/3 cup green pepper, diced small
1/3 cup red pepper, diced small
1/3 cup yellow pepper, diced small
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 1/2 t white or apple cider vinegar
3 1/2 t sugar
1 t light olive oil
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, dry roasted and salted (if desired)
1) Cook each rice separately, according to package directions. Allow to cool.
2) Place cooked rice in a large bowl. Add green, red and yellow peppers, scallions, vinegar, sugar, olive oil and pistachios (if desired). Toss well and serve at room temperature or slightly warm.
NOTE: One of our daughters has a tree nut allergy, so I omit the pistachios – - and this dish is still divine.
SUMMER WHITE BEAN SALAD
Serves 6 (sourced from Cooks Country)
1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
salt and pepper
3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until garlic just begins to brown.
2) Slowly add 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to simmer.
3) Remove from heat, add beans, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
4) Combine vinegar and shallot in large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
5) Drain beans and remove garlic.
6) Add beans, remaining oil, bell pepper, parsley and chives to shallot mixture.
7) Toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.
8) Let sit for 20 minutes. Serve.